Pencils for Kids is an all-volunteer, grassroots Canadian charity whose vision is to make a difference in the world by providing every child the opportunity for an education. Pencils for Kids partners with a community in Niger, Africa called Liboré. Since 2005, Pivot has been working closely with Robin Mednick, the Founder and Executive Director of the Pencils for Kids organization to donate our time and services to help this incredible organization.
In 2010, on one of her regular visits to Liboré, Robin Mednick learned that a large number of girls were not attending school. Instead they had to stay home to help support the family by working in the fields to prepare grain and food for their sustenance. In fact, in Libore, it is quite rare to find a girl in school beyond the sixth grade.
“Women in Niger spend up to six hours each day pounding millet (a small grain cereal) to make the grain into flour, which is their main food source for every meal. Often they can be seen in groups taking turns pushing a heavy wooden pestle into a wooden mortar. Every muscle of their bodies is engaged in this strenuous activity.”
In the past P4K has been focusing funding efforts towards the construction of schools and libraries and the provision of supplies to schools. But from this visit, it was clear that there needed to be a way to get more girls into schools and continue their studies to become better educated and help their communities grow. By providing scholarships to girls, families can afford their daughters to be away from home and in school. If we want to help future generations of girls avoid the hardships their mothers face daily, the only way out is through education.
A Program Based on Partnership
We, at Pivot, partnered with George Brown’s School of Design to engage with students of StudioLab, a work-study program. Pivot worked to develop the program name, define the audience, and outline what communication materials would be required to support the fundraising and awareness program. Then, during a 4-week period, eight students worked in pairs with guidance from Pivot and P4K to develop the logo and communication materials for the millet-pounding program. In the end, “Pound for Change” was born.
This self-driven fundraising event allows organizers to play their own part in educating others and building awareness for the cause. Guests at the event can experience millet pounding for themselves in a fun way to get together with friends and family to learn about millet pounding and raise money for Scholarships for Girls in Liboré, Niger. Each scholarship costs approximately $600 which covers the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, food allowance, and tutoring for a year.
Why this is important
Every year we spend educating a girl enriches her life, broadens heropportunities, and promises a better future for her whole community.Every year of secondary education for girls reduces malnutrition, reduces over-population, reduces infant mortality, increases economic opportunity and leads to empowerment and building better futures for these girls.
To learn more about Pencils for Kids and the Pound for Change program, please visit www.pencilsforkids.com